The owners behind the beloved and admired educational kids TV show “Sesame Street” have just invested in a start-up that enables kids to learn about the world of computer building and coding.
Kano, a company that is known for its do-it-yourself computer building kits for kids, said that it had acquired the 28 million dollar funding from Sesame Street Ventures last year, the futurity minded venture arm of Sesame Workshop, to help incite growth and work on new projects.
Executive Vice President for strategy, research and ventures at Sesame Workshop, Tanya Haider, said that the firms venture capital unit was investing in companies like Kano to further expand children's entertainment, knowledge and thinking into the world of technology, through technology, to go beyond the reach of traditional media. “We can have a greater impact by partnering with others rather than doing everything ourselves,” Haider said, “Sesame Street was the original disrupter in kids media by harnessing the power of television to teach. With Kano, we will be exploring the creation of products, content, and research that positively impacts the way parents and children approach technology.”
Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Alex Klein, of Kano, said that the aim is to help children and people of all ages understand how the technology they indulge in in everyday life works, instead of just consuming it, comparable to how most people utilize platforms like Facebook and Netflix.
“We see dozens of hours of engagement, actually a level of engagement especially in the first month which rivals Snapchat,” Klein expressed to CNBC in a phone call, “What people are doing on Kano is not just using applications like Whatsapp or Wikipedia or Minecraft but remaking them and sharing their own versions of them.”
The company focuses on kids but isn’t only aimed towards them. It additionally has an online platform where users can build their own games, websites and motion sensor hardware that can be programmed to perform a wide variety of tasks. “Half of the users on our online platform which is free to use are over the age of 18” Klein said. It competes with Arduino, which also makes DIY computer building kits.
Kano currently has 250,000 customers across 150 countries and Klein plans to help them expand its products further beyond computer building but also into different exciting areas like blockchain.
“You’re going to see some product announcements from us in the next few months that will give you a sense of how we are evolving the creative computing system, both software and hardware” he said, “I think we’re very well known for our computer kits which sell very well but the real value, as much as it is in the hardware, is in the software and content.” He added, “We are also very keen to demystify decentralized networks like the blockchain. We feel that the original premise was build your own computer, learn to code, create the future.”
“But what interests us greatly is building your own internet, learning how networks work so you can protect your data, so you can carefully and creatively open up access ports to other people, exchange files in your own way, kind of take some control back over how these core communication systems in your life work.”
The future is technology, and yet again, Sesame Street continues to make a opportunal future for all those involved.